Larry Washington's tumultuous stay with the University of Maryland football team appears to be finished.
Even though the former Randallstown High standout said he hadn't quit the Terps, coach Mark Duffner announced after yesterday's scrimmage that Washington had quit. Washington said that he has been absent from Maryland practices since Tuesday afternoon to "work on grades," but claimed that he hadn't quit the team.
"I didn't personally tell Coach Duffner or any coach that I've quit," said Washington, a senior running back whose playing time has dropped steadily since his freshman season.
Duffner said Washington's absence was a sign that he wasn't interested in playing for the Terps.
"On Tuesday, Larry walked away after a meeting and didn't attend practice, and that caught me off guard," Duffner said. "We never saw him again. His never trying to communicate with us, and the fact that he told his teammates he was quitting, was a clear signal to us that he's elected to do other things."
Washington's relationship with Duffner has never been smooth. He was suspended for two games at the start of the 1992 season after he admitted guilt to a charge of felony forgery of a credit card. Washington played sparingly that season, and his playing time diminished even further last year, when he was slowed by several injuries.
After Washington missed practice last year, he was suspended by Duffner for the Virginia Tech game.
Washington had voiced frustration at a lack of playing time following spring practice and threatened to transfer, but he and Duffner met for two hours on Aug. 12.
"I told him that if you want to transfer, the door is open," Duffner said. "But we made an agreement. If Larry was going to be here, he was going to do things the Maryland way."
"He told me if I messed up one time," Washington said, "he was going to kick me off the team. He's trying to say I've quit the team so that he can take my scholarship away."
"This has nothing to do with taking away his scholarship," Duffner said. "The scholarship cannot be used this year for another player in any way, shape or form."
Washington attended both sessions of summer school, and said he needed to do well in an economics exam this morning in order to be eligible. He said he was supposed to meet with an athletic department member prior to that exam to discuss the status of his scholarship.
Washington (5 feet 11, 215 pounds) led Randallstown High to a 13-0 record and the state 4A championship in 1990, when he rushed for a state-record 2,275 yards. Maryland won a heated recruiting competition for him.
Duffner also said that Andrew Carter had quit the team. Carter, a sophomore who caught 41 passes as an inside wide receiver last season, was displeased with his switch to cornerback. Earlier this week, he said he was considering transferring.